Cast party

Cast iron pan

Those of us who have a well-seasoned cast iron skillet likely use it frequently. There are many reasons to love a cast iron pan, which is good news for Lodge, the Tennessee company which is the last American cast iron cookware company. They've outlasted their U.S. competitors and have seen an increase in demand for their cookware that they can't match, so they are expanding the size of their production facility.

While some kitchen equipment of yesteryear is obsolete (not many folks use a butter churn today), cast iron has endured and remains popular with (ahem) seasoned cooks, who praise it for its heat retention, durability, and value. Now a new generation of cooks is discovering the merits of cast iron, which include making great burgers. The NY Times recently touted cast iron as being the best choice for making perfect burgers: "Cook on heavy, cast-iron pans and griddles. Cook outside if you like, heating the pan over the fire of a grill, but never on the grill itself. The point is to allow rendering beef fat to gather around the patties as they cook, like a primitive high-heat confit." 

Of course there are myriad uses for cast iron beyond burgers and steaks. Indexed blog The Kitchn counts 35 ways to love cast iron skillets, including making cornbread, frying chicken, and making desserts like this pear skillet cake. The EYB Library features other uses such as making pizza, apple cobbler, and roasted clams.

Do you love your cast-iron pans? What's your favorite cast-iron skillet recipe?

Photo by Darcie Boschee

6 Comments

  • Rinshin  on  6/30/2014 at 7:23 PM

    I love cast iron pans. I use it for many things including corn bread, fruit upside down cakes, sukiyaki, yakitori, steaks, burgers, chicken grill, etc.

  • adrienneyoung  on  6/30/2014 at 10:08 PM

    Alton Brown's steak! Spectacularly yummy.

  • boardingace  on  6/30/2014 at 11:44 PM

    I do love cast iron; I have the enameled ones by Staub mostly. Can't think of a particular recipe because I use them all the time for nearly everything.

  • Bloominanglophile  on  7/1/2014 at 8:39 AM

    My cast iron skillet that I acquired as a newlywed is now beautifully seasoned and non-stick after 20+ years of marriage. I use it to cook tortillas, bake cornbread, fry up chicken, and to cook other proteins when I want some good browning. I wouldn't mind having some other sizes and shapes of cast iron pans, but I don't like the seasoning process they are using now. Anyone know if they still make unseasoned cast iron, or do I need to start hitting the local garage sales?!?

  • Rinshin  on  7/2/2014 at 12:49 AM

    I bought few of my pieces via ebay used. Turned out fine.

  • Bloominanglophile  on  7/2/2014 at 8:38 AM

    Rinshin, I totally forgot about ebay. Good idea!

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